Alien craft lands at Stone-Robinson?

Nope. The device pictured at left was installed at Stone-Robinson Elementary to monitor air quality. For years, some parents and teachers at the school have wondered about the dust that coated the playground and cars when neighboring Luck Stone was blasting. After a Hook article last October mentioned those concerns, parent Paul Accad asked the Department of Environmental Quality to test the air.

Fifteen days of random monitoring between February and May, including three days when the quarry was blasting, measured particles below state and federal standards. In this case, bigger particles–- on average 16.7 microns–- are better than those below 10 microns, which can cause pulmonary fibrosis. "That's an insidious, vicious kind of disease to have," says Kathleen Klumpp, a respiratory therapist whose children used to attend the school. "We don't want to worry about kids having that down the road."

While the larger particles can exacerbate asthma, says Klumpp, she refers to them merely as "nuisance dust."

As for the students' reaction to the testing, says Stone Robinson principal Ashby Kindler, "They all wanted to know about the spaceship."

21 comments

How sad for children or teachers with asthma! Luck Stone should provide some masks for them.

"The Committee" by Susan Cataldo

There's a committee looking into the air,
my supervisor said,
when someone complained
about our stuffy office.

Can't you just see them up there,
sitting around a conference table,
looking into the air.
That's all. Just looking.

There's a committee looking into the air.
I must get elected to that committee
because I care about the air too
and I would love to look into it,

all of it,
and I would love to look into it
with others also.
We would be this committee,

united,
to look into the air.
People would send us complaints about the air
and we would send memos back to them

describing what we saw when we looked into the air
and if something needed to be done about it
we would fix it.
We would be the committee that looks into the air.

I find this a little disturbing. My daughter began at SRE this year. I was unaware that there were any air quality concerns nor was I aware of any testing that was going on. I think that the parents should have at least been notified.

Kristina, I believe you have a perfect right to be disturbed. The school administration should have written a letter to inform parents of the DEQ's testing taking place. I continue to be concerned for children with asthma. They shouldn't be running around outside, huffing and puffing during Physical Eduation classes. It would be better for them if the "larger particles" were not present. Luck Stone is powerful politically and I'm sure the county does not want to ruffle their feathers. It is common sense, it was stupid to build the school on the perimetor of a working quarry. My guess, the county will use this one report to justify their position "that all is ok". If you desire to get to the bottom of it all, you may need to conduct your own private testing.

The people at Luck Stone are very nice folks. They work hard to be good neighbors. They even sponsor and finance special events for the neighboring school.
The reality, they are a profitable mining busuness. Mining operations create dust. Drive by on Route 250 on any dry day and you'll see what I mean.
There is documentation for a form of asbestos contained in the Shadwell rock. The engineers refer to the particular type as a form of good asbestos. Some in the community have asked for clarification, but the issue is not widely discussed. It would be wise for parents to garner more information on the asbestos piece. There are varying and conflicting scientific opinions here.
The quarry pre existed the school. Under the circumstances, the county should offer any parents of children with asthma a choice. They should be given the option of attending another school, if they prefer.

I have a question I hope someone can answer. Who was there first? The school or Luck Stone? Either way it seems pretty obvious that a study should have been done BEFORE either the school or Luck Stone were built. If Luck Stone was 1st on site what govt idiot decided to build a school without a study? If the school was 1st on the site what govt idiot decided to permit Luck Stone to build next to a school?

Kristina, before The Hook exposed this, maybe it was another issue you weren't suppose to know about.

IMHO, parents should be told about this issue at the beginning of every school year.

Cletus, The quarry was there first.
From what I have heard, the school land, adjacent to the quarry, was freely "given" to Albemarle County for a school. This happened years ago. I seem to remember that the "Stone" family, of Stone and Webster Brick, donated the land. They named the school for a Mrs. Stone.
From what I also understand, Luck Stone has also given additional land to Albemarle or Stone-Robinson after the quarry has in-filled nearby property with gravel wastes. My guess, the quarry now doesn't want to come any closer to the school because of community questions. The school is surrounded/penned in by a mining operation, so the quarry hands over filled land to the school.
It does appear, the county should have known better than to build a school at the edge of a mine, even as the land was donated.
The quarry operation does deserve credit in that they have been generous and neighborly. What doesn't seem right, is that innocent children are now exposed to "nuisance noise and dust" because the county had no vision in planning ahead.

Knows quarry: Many thanks for the info. So it seems very much to me as though someone built a house next to an airport and now is complaining about the noise. Yes, people are that stupid. A similar situation came up a few years back in Hampton Roads when people who built houses near the Lafayette Gun Club (which was there before the houses) complained about the "danger" and the noise. Thank the maker there was a judge who didn't have his head lodged in the place most judges have their heads lodged these days (there are a few left) and ruled their complaints were totally without merit. If there is a human health hazard associated with the Luck Stone facility then it seems perfectly clear that those persons who authorized building the school without a study should be held responsible if it is determined there are health issues. Sounds to me as though Luck Stone acted in good faith (and then some). Perhaps it would be a good idea to review the (anonymous) health records of Luck Stone's employees to see if a strong correlation can be found. Which brings us to the next question: So what if it were determined the Luck Stone facility were a burden on human health? Who's fault would that be? And why would it be their(Luck Stone) obligation to field this problem b/c the city isn't competent to do its job?

Cletus, I think you're on to something. We can't blame Luck Stone entirely.
The problem: DEQ and the county, have
allowed the quarry to operate and expand without question. Sure, it would have been preferable for the quarry "not to be there".
In my opinion, the county has "turned a head" because they WANT TO protect the industry. My God, the plant land rests upon the vulnerable Rivanna and it is within the viewshed of Monticello. The land is also adjacent to the Shadwell address and birthplace of Thomas Jefferson. The site should have been preserved or protected, but it wasn't.
Good luck in trying to figure out who got cancer from working in the place. Those facts will not come out easily.

The other issue: The local govt. officials who authorized the original building of the quarry/school, may be dead or gone by now. This does not excuse the county or quarry from advocating for the best situation: children/staff working in the school, at this time.

I'm surprised the parents aren't hoppin mad by now. No other local school environment is this dusty. Poor little kids probably cough a lot. SAD

I think this whole thing is a big misunderstanding. I have been part of the scientific community for years and there is no such thing as particle size of 16.7 microns. There is 10 microns and 2.5 microns. If DEQ performed a study, the 16.7 is probably the 24 hour average and is measured in micrograms per cubic meter over that 24 hour period. If this is the case, then those are very low numbers. The air in your home is probably worse than that. But hey, that's just my 2 cents.

You're right. The average value of the fifteen samples was 16.7 micrograms per cubic meter. Sorry about the confusion.

Lisa Provence

Was random testing the best or only way to approach the situation? Did wind direction figure in here? Would the strength of the blast change the outcome? Would the findings be different if the circumstances during the blasting were tweaked? I must question whether we know the entire story here.
Could the findings be diluted as a result of strategy. I don't know. Can anyone shed light here?

I don't know how it works for a special study but for normal ambient air monitoring, EPA has a schedule in place in which a PM10 monitor samples once every sixth day. My guess is, you would have to contact the quarry about the questions concerning the strength of the blast and tweaking, and how they would impact the outcome. But 16.7 micrograms per cubic meter as an average is probably less than most ambient conditions in the entire state. You'd have to check with DEQ or EPA for that information..

My 2 cents, Thank you.
I do know that the "blasts" can be VERY strong, as they shake and rattle the school building, resulting in giant clouds of dust, or they can be a quiet rumble with no visible dust. Everyone knew DEQ was testing. It is difficult to believe the quarry blasts would have been of the strongest variety while testing took place.

Monticello, like any other property, does not own a view.

Go down to county real estate records and examine the deed.

Where would you like the quarry, in Arkansas?

Housing is expensive enough. Housing and roads consume the rock from the quarry. The closer the better. The quarry even has its own rail siding and is thus linked with the greenest form of transport on the planet...rail.

Luck stone has been there since the late 40's or early 50's.

Plus, this is a valuable resource as a potential landfill some day. We need to be responsible for our own garbage, its time to stop driving it beyond Richmond burning thousands of gallons of fuel per day. Shame on us.

Oh my God, is this what the quarry has in mind for the future, a landfill in Shadwell? The folks in glenmore will have a cow.
What a nice proposal to put such a place on the rivanna river. Don't many of these trash heaps leach? Imagine the buzzards flying over nearby Clifton Inn too.
It is a shame those school kids must breathe that nuisance dust. I bet they are scared when Luck conducts a big boom.

If the county doesn't like the quarry emminent domain it, pay Luck stone the MILLIONS they would be losing and fill it with dirt and trees.

Half the kids in Keswick walk down gravel driveways to get home. I wonder how many "microns" they inhale. We all know how farmers only live to the ripe old age of 30 or so....

You people need to stop scaring our children.

There IS asbestos in the rock. They'll tell you it is within the limit. I know someone who works there. He filled me in.
Ya can't tell me the air quality is the best. I wouldn't want my kid breathing the dust next to the place. Stonehenge, the county loves the place. They will favor the quarry because of the financial piece.